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East Palestine approves contract with village workers

EAST PALESTINE — Following nearly three months of negotiations, the village’s Teamsters union has a new five-year contract that includes a new wage scale.

Village Manager Mark McTrustry said the negotiations lasted about two and a half months this year partly because of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Teamsters Local 377 union represents full-time street, water and waste department employees and their clerical employees.

Council approved the five-year contract by unanimous vote on Monday. Councilman Mark Walker was excused from the meeting.

McTrustry said the new contract sets a new wage scale for all levels of operators for water or wastewater or dual certification. He explained that prior to the agreement workers were paid a base rate with increases for any or all licenses they acquired.

The new scale was mutually agreed upon, as well as a 35 cents per hour wage increase for union employees.

According to the new scale, the highest base pay rate is set at $26.19 for class III water or wastewater foreman and entry level employees will earn a base pay rate of $17.93.

Councilman Doug Simpson was the only one to comment on the contract approval during the meeting, and said he was pleased with the outcome.

“I think we did really well with the contract. I think we got it down a lot lower than what we were originally asking for and we still have the wage re-opener so I think we did really well with that,” he said.

The village is looking to hire a laborer for the street department. Once hired, they will have 90 days to obtain a CDL endorsement unless circumstances prohibit that from happening, McTrustry said.

The majority of council also approved legislation allowing for a 35 cent per hour raise for the administrative assistant/clerk of council.

McTrustry said that council will soon be voting on a contract with the Fraternal Order of Police union, but he is waiting to get the document from their representative in order to have that in place.

He said the FOP is looking at a 35 cents per hour wage increase as well, in addition to a 3 percent raise for the corporal position.

McTrustry said there is no increase for part-time employees this year.

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